Representatives Steve Cohen and Bonnie Watson Coleman Lead Letter to President Biden on Commuting Prison Sentences

November 22, 2021
Press Release
Pandemic-driven CARES Act provision allowed many to be released to home confinement

WASHINGTON – Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12) led a letter to President Biden today urging his administration to begin accepting applications for commutations from all detainees released to home confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic. The option for early release was a provision in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, but many of those released are facing being returned to prison despite having successfully reintegrated into their families and communities.

Their letter reads in part:

“In September, your administration began requesting applications for commutations from a limited number of incarcerated individuals who were released to home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic under authority granted by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). We applaud this important effort to address the incarceration crisis in America and prevent the inhumane reincarceration of individuals who have proven to pose no public safety risk during home confinement. It is our hope that your administration will continue to pursue just and necessary criminal legal reform by allowing all individuals released to home confinement under the CARES Act to apply for a commutation of their sentence.”

The letter was co-signed by Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Jan Schakowsky, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mondaire Jones and Ayanna Pressley.

See the entire letter here.

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